The abuse of prescription pain relievers and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. Every day more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. Overdose deaths have now surpassed motor vehicle accidents, guns and HIV in the national death rate.
A cause of the opioid crisis is the doctor to patient access to these drugs. The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors increased from 112 million in 1992 to a peak of 282 million in 2012. The increase in opioid prescriptions was fueled by a multi-faceted campaign underwritten by pharmaceutical companies.
The campaign that started, basically the ultimate opioid takeover, provided information that included patient history and doctoral education courses that all leaned in favor of opioids becoming more commonplace as a rising answer to pain relievers. Originally, opioids were only favored in use of postoperative and end-of-life pain; now, it serves to a wider group catering to everyday situations for people such as fibromyalgia and lower back pain.
The pharmaceutical industry began to notice the highly influential articles easing into opioids becoming more common as typical solutions for any chronic pain. That’s when drugs like OxyContin were being aggressively marketed to doctors everywhere.
Another cause of the opioid crisis is the opposite end of the doctor-patient accessibility to the pain relievers. 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Approximately 52 million people have used prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes at least once.
Since 1999, the number of deaths from overdosing on opioids in one year has quadrupled from 4,000 to 62,000 by 2016. In terms of overall misuse, opioids account for a greater amount of the prescription drug abuse problem.
These drugs are popular, even among those who haven’t been prescribed any medication before. What may be hard to realize is that the possibility of addiction can affect any person, even if you’re taking the correct dosage.
The purpose of the medication is to relieve pain, and eventually, it can become necessary for someone to get out of bed each day. Opioids are even popular as recreational-use drugs. The purpose of a person taking the medication non-medically is to be in a euphoric state-of-mind, a high feeling.
The overall effect of the opioid crisis is the highest national death rate of people overdosing on opioids. Since 1999, the annual death rate for opioid overdose has quadrupled in numbers. In 2016, more than 289 million prescriptions were written for opioid drugs.
In October of 2016, President Trump announced that because of the epidemic, we are officially in a state of emergency. There has been an increase of neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborns, and doing these drugs also puts anyone at high risk for HIV or Hep C. Drug overdoses has also become the leading cause of death for people under 50 as well.
Considering these numbers are the highest they’ve ever been, there’s still the after consequences, there’s still the fact that these people were people. Thousands of children are left in foster care because of the parents overdosing.
These people that are essentially addicted steal, lie and become different people, all under the name of the addiction. And at some points, these people are too far gone to even consider quitting cold turkey because if they do, they’re at higher risk for HIV and accidental overdose.
One thing that’s easy to grasp is that the opioid epidemic seems to be one big well-oiled machine. It’s all basic economics of supply-and-demand. The drug became more popular and essentially was needed more and more every day by regular people. The pharmaceutical industry had its plan to take over and all it took was wooing over the journalists and the doctors.
Because even though the numbers prove that more people may not be in pain since the 90’s, there have still been more prescriptions written. Now, that’s easy to place the blame on the fact that doctors don’t want to see their patients suffering, and considering we’re in the 21st century, it’s easier to prescribe the right medication for any pain.